When Should You Speak With An Estate Litigation Lawyer?

Law Blog

Pursuing estate litigation sounds like a dramatic choice. However, you may need to work with an estate litigation lawyer to protect your rights and interests. If you're facing one of these four situations, it might be time to contact an estate litigation attorney.

Administrative Negligence

The executor or administrator of an estate has a number of duties. One of the most common forms of negligence that leads to estate litigation is failing to properly maintain properties.

Suppose there's a house in an estate and that it might take a while to sell the house to divide the proceeds amongst the beneficiaries. If the executor fails to deal with a roof leak that causes the sale value of the house to drop, the beneficiaries have the right to sue. A court might rule that the executor failed in their fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. Generally, the remedy in that situation is to compel the executor to make the beneficiaries whole on their financial losses.

Undue Influence in the Drafting of the Estate's Documents

Some legal problems with an estate may have occurred while the grantor was still drawing up documents. A common issue on this front is undue influence.

If a person unduly encouraged the grantor to change their will, for example, folks harmed by the changes have the right to ask a probate court for relief. Perhaps a nurse who was close to the grantor encouraged the changes. If the grantor was in an unfit mental state, the influence in encouraging the changes might be deemed undue. The likely remedy would be to revert the affected portions of the will to the last version available when the grantor was still of sound mind.

Legal Language

Try as they might, grantors and their lawyers don't always use precise language in wills, trusts, and other supporting documents for estates. Also, language can become outdated if circumstances change.

Generally, it's the executor's duty to sort these issues out. Beneficiaries might object to the answer an executor arrived at, or the executor may be so flummoxed that they don't know how to read the terms of the documents. Under those circumstances, a suit may be necessary to sort out the grantor's intentions.

Injunctive Relief to Prevent Transfers

Under any questionable circumstances, it's important to prevent irreparable harm. An estate litigation lawyer will likely ask the court for an injunction to prevent any property transfers that would be irreparable. Upon granting relief, the judge would instruct the executor to halt related transfers until the issues are resolved. 


28 April 2021

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.